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Breed Spotlight: The Skye Terrier 

February 15, 2024

We’re putting a very cute and very special little dog in the spotlight this month. February includes Skye Terrier Day. Fido definitely needs the attention: he’s one of the most endangered dog breeds out there! A local Askov, MN vet offers some insight into this Scottish dog in this article. 

What is The Skye Terrier?

Skye Terriers are cute, fluffy little dogs with long, silky coats. Many have ears that stand up, though some have floppy ears. Fido is more long than he is tall. Overall, he isn’t very large: these little guys rarely stand over ten inches tall. Males can usually weigh between 35–40 lbs (16–18 kg), while females may weigh 25–31 lbs (12–14 kg). Like many other small breeds, they are quite long-lived, and can live up to 15 years.

Do Skye Terriers Bark A Lot?

Fido probably isn’t going to be the quietest pup on the block. While his size and activity needs make him a great choice for apartment dwellers, he can bark a lot.

Do Skye Terriers Make Good Pets?

Our canine friends come in all shapes and sizes. There are no bad breeds: it’s a matter of finding the right match.

That said, these guys do have some great qualities. They don’t need a lot of exercise, and tend to be very devoted to their humans. However, they can be nonchalant with strangers. That all said, these guys pack a lot of personality into small bodies, and can be very cute, fun and lovable. They also tend to be quite affectionate with their owners. However, they may not be suitable for families with very small children. They also don’t always get along with other dogs, particularly strange ones. It’s worth noting that Fido can be a bit stubborn, and is very independent. He also has a fondness for digging, and may very well turn your prized garden into a doggy construction site.

Where Is The Skye Terrier From?

Fido’s name reveals quite a bit about his history. The breed hails from the Isle of Skye, which is off the coast of northwest Scotland. Fido’s first job was hunting foxes and badgers: his small size allowed him to fit into their dens. These little dogs are very determined and plucky. In fact, they can be quite feisty, despite their small size.

Is The Skye Terrier An Old Breed?

The Skye Terrier has been around since the 1500’s. They became popular with British royalty in the mid-16th century, and soon became favored pets of the nobility. Queen Victoria was also a fan: she bred Skye Terriers in her royal kennels. Fido became very popular in England during the Victorian age. The breeds were featured in some of the first dog shows, and joined the ranks of the AKC way back in 1887.

Why Are Skye Terriers Endangered?

Unfortunately, Fido’s early popularity didn’t last. In fact, the dogs now rank near the bottom of the AKC’s breed roster in terms of popularity. The Skye Terrier not only fell out of fashion, they are now being overshadowed because of the current trend of small designer dogs, such as the Doodle breeds. They are now quite rare, and are listed as one of the UK’s most endangered dog breeds. 

Are There Any Famous Skye Terriers?

The most famous of these pups is likely Greyfriars Bobby. This faithful pooch was the devoted companion of a man named John Gray, who worked as a night watchman. When Gray died of tuberculosis in 1858, the little dog joined his funeral procession, following the mourners to the grave. He then refused to leave the grave. Locals tried to coax him away, but the devout pup kept returning to the spot. Eventually, the townsfolk made him a little shelter. He remained there until he died, 14 years later. 

Today, a statue in his honor stands in Edinburgh, near Candlemakers Row and George IV Bridge, just outside Greyfriars Kirkyard, which is where Gray was buried. The amazing pup’s story has melted many hearts in the intervening years, including that of Walt Disney, who made a movie about him: 1961’s Greyfriars Bobby. It was remade in 2005, under the title The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby.

Do Skye Terriers Need A Lot Of Grooming?

Because Skye Terriers are so shaggy, you may think that they need a lot of attention in this area. However, unlike with most breeds, this will really depend on Fido’s lifestyle. If Fido spends most of his time indoors, he probably won’t need too much as far as beauty care. If your canine pal spends a lot of time outdoors, especially in muddy areas, he’ll need more frequent baths.

You will need to brush your furry pal weekly, using a comb or a soft brush. Otherwise, your pet will develop mats and tangles. You don’t have to clip his fur, though you may want to gently trim any locks that are getting into his eyes.

As with any other pup, your furry pal will need regular nail trims. You’ll also need to keep your furry friend’s ears clean.

There is a downside, though: you will need to be careful when bathing your pet. When shampooing him, you’ll want to be careful not to break his hairs. Don’t scrub or rub too hard, and use a gentle shampoo. Your Askov, MN vet may also recommend diluting the shampoo.

Are Skye Terriers Healthy?

Skye Terriers tend to be quite plucky and robust. The AKC does not recommend any specific tests. That said, they are somewhat at risk of a few things, such as Intervertebral Disc Disease and eye problems. Your veterinarian may also advise screening for cancer and a few other conditions, such as autoimmune disease, skin allergies, and hip dysplasia.

Keep up with your pet’s veterinary care needs, and follow your Askov, MN veterinarian’s recommendations.

It is important to note that Fido’s long locks can hide a lot. You’ll need to check for things like parasites and skin problems, as you may not be able to see them.

Do Skye Terriers Need A Lot Of Exercise?

Like any other dog, Fido will need proper activity to stay healthy. However, he can tire out quickly on those short little legs. He’ll also get a pretty good workout by just running around the house. Therefore, you won’t have to take your canine pal on long walks. In fact, you shouldn’t” your pet could tire out very easily. Daily play sessions and a few short walks will suffice.

That said, there are a few things to be aware of. Because of their elongated spines, Skye Terriers are at risk of back injuries. Puppies can injure themselves just going up and down stairs, or jumping onto hard surfaces.

Conclusion: Although once a favorite of royals, the Skye Terrier is no longer very popular, and is in fact endangered. These lively, intelligent, and charismatic little dogs can make a great pet, and are particularly well-suited for apartment living.

Do you have questions about caring for a Skye Terrier? Please do not hesitate to contact us. As your local Askov, MN pet hospital, we are dedicated to providing top-notch care.